The devastation has been felt heavily in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The damage is currently being compared to 1999’s Hurricane Floyd, whose resulting effect was roughly $7 billion. For Haiti and North Carolina, this meant massive amounts of destruction and record-breaking floods. Luckily for the Southern tip of Florida, known for dealing with torrential weather conditions, the storm didn’t affect it with nearly the same ferocity, though big retailers are still looking to recover.
With the impending effects of Hurricane Matthew on their way at the time, many retailers closed their businesses in anticipation of the storm. This lead to losses in Columbus Day sales with five different shopping centers in the Orlando and Jacksonville areas closing. Sears alone closed 91 stores, which includes their Sears, Sears Auto Center and Kmart locations with 45 of them staying closed through the remainder of the weekend.
A spokesman from Wal-Mart stated that many of their locations closed out of an abundance of caution for the customers and associates.
“Based on our experience from past disasters, we try to anticipate what products will be in greater demand before and after a hurricane and work to make sure the stores in the path of the storm have what they need,” stated the spokesman.
Michael Kors, Macys and Nordstrom all saw at least 5 percent of their Florida locations affected by the Hurricane as well. When determining the loss of profit from the closings, in addition to any damage incurred, the real determinant will be the amount of time necessary to resume business. While losing days worth of profit is a manageable loss that can be recouped, losing possibly weeks to the effects of the storm could result in permanent losses.
Coupled with the loss of tourism to the area, this isn’t a completely implausible idea. Hopefully, southern Florida retailers will be operating at their usual speed sooner rather than later.